Commentary Magazine


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Flotsam and Jetsam

Larry Sabato writes on the New York Times and its settlement with Vicki Iseman: “While proof is the most important determinant of publication, broadcast and print journalists must continue to be appropriately aggressive and properly suspicious of the official version of anything. Or do we just want everyone in the tank for the powerful?” Well, we have our answer and Chris Matthews has his.

Harvard  professor Robert Barro didn’t get the White House memo that every economist was supposed to agree that the stimulus plan was a good idea. Actually he thinks it is a “terrible piece of legislation.”

“The general consensus right now among the student body is that they are a bunch of idiots.” That’s the pithy take on the student demonstrators at NYU who had to be removed by force from the university cafeteria. Their concerns seem to have evolved from  transparency in budgeting to “solidarity with Gaza.”

It sure is the beginning of the end, according to Don Luskin.

First Rush Limbaugh and then Rick Santelli. The White House seems intent on elevating their media adversaries and losing the high ground.

Larry Kudlow is steamed at the White House for attacking Santelli and bullying the media, but isn’t this more fodder for Santelli and more exposure for his complaints? Gibbs’s ouburst  is defensive, unseemly and petty but I don’t think it’s going to discourage any reporters from going after the president’s policies.

Hey, they better not mess with Eric the Trader.

Marc Ambinder begins to dutifully spin that this was actually a smart thing, but can’t quite get past the part about potentially catalyzing the opposition.

Sort of like all of this.

Or this: “Populist anger is a great tool to get elected. But it is nearly impossible to control. The very change that swept Democrats into D.C. will surely sweep them away again if they squeeze ordinary citizens too much to pay for the failings of others. We’re still mad as hell. And now Democrats can’t blame anyone else for a change.”

Speaking of righteous anger, Sen. Arlen Specter gets booed for his stimulus plan vote.

Jonathan Chait writes that Senators Chris Dodd and Charles Schumer “have now both opened the door to temporary nationalization of the banks. This is really starting to look like something that could happen.” Which explains in part why the stock market and bank stocks are crashing. If the Democrats are going to give up on the markets, the markets are going to give up on them.

Rep. Adam Schiff discovers he’s helped run up a big tab: “It’s really staggering to think we’re going to have trillion-dollar deficits for the next several years.” Really?

Guantanamo fully complies with the Geneva Convention. But we have to close it because. . .  because why? Oh, yes, it got a terrible reputation when the press misreported what was going on there.

From the “This governing stuff is hard” file: “Mr. Obama spent Thursday reassuring Canadians that his campaign talk of reopening the North American Free Trade Agreement would not actually impede free trade. His budget writers are struggling to square promises of rolling back George W. Bush’s tax cuts with combating the recession. One campaign applause line — about ending tax quirks that he said encourage U.S. corporations to move jobs overseas — is facing a wall of opposition from companies pleading for relief in a global downturn.”

The Wall Street Journal editors echo Pete Wehner’s evisceration of Bill Moyers.